Heart-friendly fruit

In recent years tomatoes have received a lot of attention for their ingredient lycopene. This antioxidant has been shown to offer some protection for skin against UV and to reduce risk of prostate cancer. Antioxidants are also good for your cardiovascular system but now new research has shown that tomatoes contain an additional nutrient that will help your heart.

Although we tend to use them as we use other vegetables, tomatoes are in fact a fruit. Indeed, not only are tomatoes a fruit, they are the fruit as they are the most widely produced fruit in the world.

Every year more than 130 million tons of tomatoes are produced around the world and it is regarded as being grown “worldwide”. There are more than 7500 varieties of this fruit which originally was yellow in colour when it was grown first by the Aztecs of central America.

In this study researchers have found that not only do tomatoes make an essential and delightful contribution to bruschetta but they also contain a substance dubbed 9-oxo-octadecadienoic acid (9-oxo-ODA). The researchers have found that this substance can treat conditions that feature abnormal blood fats (dyslipidaemia) such as cholesterol and triglycerides.

The research showed that 9-oxo-ODA suppressed the accumulation of triglycerides in the liver. Additionally, it increased the expression of genes involved in fatty acid oxidation.

So tomatoes really are a treasure trove of ingredients to support a healthy heart. One thing to keep in mind though is that some commercial tomatoes, not organic ones, are picked when green and are then ripened using a gas called ethylene.

Ethylene is produced by many fruits as a catalyst for the ripening process. When the gas is artificially applied to tomatoes however, the fruit lacks taste and has a more floury consistency. Non-vine or tree ripened fruits can also lack the nutrients of their counterparts. Where possible go organic or since tomatoes will grow so well in any garden or even a pot, why not grow your own and reap the heart benefits of your crop direct from the vine.

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The WellBeing Team

The WellBeing Team

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